"So what is it you actually do?"
This is a question that I hear often. Although functional medicine is suggested as being the "future of health care" by people such as Dr. Oz and Mark Hyman, much of the public is still relatively unsure of what the term "functional medicine" really means. To fully understand what functional medicine is, it is important to look at it alongside conventional medicine, or the standard model of care that exists today.
Chronic Disease Prescription Management
Today, the training for the standard model of medical care is to diagnose a disease and then match a medication to the disease. And while this works for acute diseases; infections, traumas and emergencies, it falls short with addressing the CAUSES of chronic disease. Traditional healthcare has lost focus on the individual, relying more and more on prescriptions as a band-aid approach to symptoms. With a population that continues to increase and a lifestyle that is leading more and more people to experience chronic disease, it's no wonder why today's healthcare providers have little time to spend with patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 6 in 10 individuals living in the US have a chronic disease.
Individuals suffering from symptoms relating to allergic, digestive, hormonal, metabolic and neurological problems are finding relief with a functional medicine approach. So what exactly is functional medicine and how is it helping millions of people?
Functional medicine is defined by 6 core principles:
Patient Centered - Encourages collaboration and shared decision-making between patients and providers to design and manage a customized care plan. Your goals are my goals.
Biochemical Individuality - Functional medicine looks at everyone as unique; genetically and biochemically. This approach allows treatment of an individual, not a disease. It removes generalizations and allows for more effective resolutions of health issues.
Interconnections - Awareness that the body is one ecosystem, everything is connected. Our systems do not function autonomously and without effect on other systems. Functional medicine is similar to putting pieces of a puzzle together, understanding relationships and recognizing when one system is influencing another.
Dynamic Balance - Balance of all body systems. Rather than making the body work differently with pharmaceutical medications, functional medicine aims to work with the body without medication. By working with the body, this supports the innate ability of the body to heal naturally.
Positive Vitality - Not merely the absence of disease. Are you surviving or are you thriving?
Enhance Health Span - Why live a long life, if it's not a healthy one? Read more about Health Span vs. Life Span here.
Finding Your Roots
Based on these core principles, functional medicine begins with a comprehensive consultation and examination. We start with the root of the symptoms, a bottom up approach instead of starting with your diagnosis, a top down approach as illustrated in this health tree:
Learn More: Monthly Presentations
Interested in learning more? Then attend our free monthly presentations where you can meet Dr. Erin Stefanacci, a Chiropractic Physician and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner where she will go over these principles in detail. You will also be able to see sample test reports and learn more about why they are different from the standard testing often performed at traditional medical practices. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions.
Click here to choose your date and to rsvp.